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Theodore Kaczynski
A man in a jacket with handcuffs
Theodore Kaczynski, The Unabomber
Born May 22, 1942 (1942-05-22) (age 67)
Chicago, Illinois
Alias(es) The Unabomber
Penalty Life in prison without the possibility of parole
Status Incarcerated at ADX Florence, #04475–046
Occupation Former assistant professor of mathematics

Dr. Theodore John Kaczynski (pronounced /kəˈzɪnski/; born May 22, 1942), also known as the Unabomber (University and Airline Bomber), is an American mathematician and social critic, who carried out a campaign of deadly mail bombings.

He was born in Chicago, Illinois, where, as an intellectual child prodigy, he excelled academically from an early age. Kaczynski received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan. He became an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley at age 25 but resigned two years later.

In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water, in Lincoln, Montana, where he began to learn survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient.[1] He decided to start a bombing campaign after watching the wilderness around his home being destroyed by development.[1] From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23. Kaczynski sent a letter to The New York Times on April 24, 1995 and promised "to desist from terrorism" if the Times or The Washington Post published his manifesto. In his Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto"), he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization.

The Unabomber was the target of one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) most costly investigations. Before Kaczynski's identity was known, the FBI used the handle "UNABOM" ("UNiversity and Airline BOMber") to refer to his case, which resulted in the media calling him the Unabomber. Despite the FBI's efforts, he was not caught as a result of this investigation. Instead, his brother recognized Ted's style of writing and beliefs from the manifesto, and tipped off the FBI. To avoid the death penalty, Kaczynski's lawyers entered a plea agreement, under which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Theodore Kaczynski has been designated a "domestic terrorist" by the FBI.[2] Several anarchist authors, such as John Zerzan and John Moore, have come to his defense, while holding some reservations over his actions and ideas.[3][4][5]


Early life

Kaczynski was born on May 22, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois to second-generation Polish Americans, Theodore Richard Kaczynski and Wanda Dombek.[6] At six-months of age, Ted's body was covered in hives. He was placed in isolation in a hospital where visitors were not allowed. Treatment continued for eight months. His mother wrote in March 1943, "Baby home from hospital and is healthy but quite unresponsive after his experience."[7]

From grades one through four, Kaczynski attended Sherman Elementary School in Chicago. He attended grades five through eight at Evergreen Park Central School.[8] As a result of testing conducted in the fifth grade which determined he had an I.Q. of 167,[9] he was allowed to skip the sixth grade and enroll in the seventh grade. Kaczynski described this as a pivotal event in his life. He recalled not fitting in with the older children and being subjected to their bullying. As a child, Kaczynski had a fear of people and buildings, and played beside other children rather than interacting with them. His mother was so worried by his poor social development that she considered entering him in a study for autistic children led by Bruno Bettelheim.[8]

He attended high school at Evergreen Park Community High School. Kaczynski excelled academically, but found the mathematics too simple during his sophomore year. During this period of his life, Kaczynski became obsessed with mathematics, spending prolonged hours locked in his room practicing differential equations instead of socializing with his peers. Throughout secondary schooling Kaczynski had far surpassed his classmates, able to solve advanced Laplace Transforms before his senior year. He was subsequently placed in a more advanced mathematics class, yet still felt intellectually restricted. Kaczynski soon mastered the material and skipped the eleventh grade. With the help of a summer school course for English, he completed his high school education when he was 15 years old. He was encouraged to apply to Harvard University, and was subsequently accepted as a student beginning in fall 1958 at the age of 16. While at Harvard, Kaczynski was taught by famed logician Willard Van Orman Quine, scoring at the top of Quine's class with a 98.9% final grade. He also participated in a multiple-year personality study conducted by Dr. Henry Murray, an expert on stress interviews.[8]

Students in Murray's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-sponsored study were told they would be debating personal philosophy with a fellow student.[10] Instead they were subjected to the stress test, which was an extremely stressful and prolonged psychological attack by an anonymous attorney. During the test, students were strapped into a chair and connected to electrodes that monitored their physiological reactions, while facing bright lights and a two-way mirror. This was filmed, and students' expressions of impotent rage were played back to them several times later in the study. According to Chase, Kaczynski's records from that period suggest he was emotionally stable when the study began. Kaczynski's lawyers attributed some of his emotional instability and dislike of mind control to his participation in this study.[10][11]


A man in a suit faces the camera while he stands in front of a building.
Kaczynski as a young professor at Berkeley, 1968

Kaczynski graduated from Harvard University in 1962 and subsequently enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned a PhD in mathematics.[8] Kaczynski's specialty was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory. His professors at Michigan were impressed with his intellect and drive. "He was an unusual person. He was not like the other graduate students," said Peter Duren, one of Kaczynski's math professors at Michigan. "He was much more focused about his work. He had a drive to discover mathematical truth." "It is not enough to say he was smart," said George Piranian, another of his Michigan math professors. In fact, Kaczynski earned his Ph.D. with his thesis entitled "Boundary Functions" by solving a problem so difficult that Piranian could not figure it out.[12] Maxwell Reade, a retired math professor who served on Kaczynski's dissertation committee, also commented on his thesis by noting, "I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciated it."[13] In 1967, Kaczynski won the University of Michigan's $100 Sumner B. Myers Prize, which recognized his dissertation as the school's best in mathematics that year.[13] While a graduate student at Michigan, he held a National Science Foundation fellowship and taught undergraduates for three years. He also published two articles related to his dissertation in mathematical journals, and four more after leaving Michigan later.[14]

In the fall of 1967, Kaczynski became an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught undergraduate courses in geometry and calculus. He was also noted as the youngest professor ever hired by the university. This position proved short-lived, however, as Kaczynski received numerous complaints and low ratings from the undergraduates he taught. Many students noted that he seemed quite uncomfortable in a teaching environment, often stuttering and mumbling during lectures, becoming excessively nervous in front of a class, and ignoring students during designated office hours. Without explanation, he resigned from his position in 1969, at age 26. The chairman of the mathematics department, J. W. Addison, called this a "sudden and unexpected" resignation,[15] while vice chairman Calvin Moore said that given Kaczynski's "impressive" thesis and record of publications, "He could have advanced up the ranks and been a senior member of the faculty today."[16]

Life in Montana

A cabin in the woods
The cabin that Kaczynski built and lived in, located outside of Lincoln, Montana

In summer 1971, Kaczynski moved into his parents' small residence in Lombard, Illinois. Two years later, he moved into a remote cabin he built himself just outside Lincoln, Montana where he lived a simple life on very little money, without electricity or running water. Kaczynski worked odd jobs and received financial support from his family, which he used to purchase his land and, without their knowledge, would later use to fund his bombing campaign. In 1978, he worked briefly with his father and brother at a foam-rubber factory [13], where he was fired by his brother, David, for harassing a female supervisor he had previously dated.

Kaczynski's original goal was to move out to a secluded place and become self-sufficient so that he could live autonomously. He began to teach himself survival skills such as tracking, edible plant identification, and how to construct primitive technologies such as bow drills.[1] However, he quickly realized that it was not possible for him to live that way, as a result of watching the wild land around him get destroyed by development and industry.[1] He performed isolated acts of sabotage initially, targeted at the developments near his cabin. The ultimate catalyst which drove him to begin his campaign of bombings, was when he went out for a walk to one of his favorite wild spots and it had been destroyed and replaced with a road. About this, he said:

The best place, to me, was the largest remnant of this plateau that dates from the tertiary age. It's kind of rolling country, not flat, and when you get to the edge of it you find these ravines that cut very steeply in to cliff-like drop-offs and there was even a waterfall there. It was about a two days hike from my cabin. That was the best spot until the summer of 1983. That summer there were too many people around my cabin so I decided I needed some peace. I went back to the plateau and when I got there I found they had put a road right through the middle of it" His voice trails off; he pauses, then continues, "You just can't imagine how upset I was. It was from that point on I decided that, rather than trying to acquire further wilderness skills, I would work on getting back at the system. Revenge.
—Ted Kaczynski, [1]

He began dedicating himself to reading about sociology and books on political philosophy, such as the works of Jacques Ellul, and also stepped up his campaign of sabotage. He soon came to the conclusion that more violent methods would be the only solution to what he saw as the problem of industrial civilization. He says that he lost faith in the idea of reform, and saw violent collapse as the only way to bring down the techno-industrial system.[1] About the idea of a reformist means of taking it down, he said:

I don't think it can be done. In part because of the human tendency, for most people, there are exceptions, to take the path of least resistance. They'll take the easy way out, and giving up your car, your television set, your electricity, is not the path of least resistance for most people. As I see it, I don't think there is any controlled or planned way in which we can dismantle the industrial system. I think that the only way we will get rid of it is if it breaks down and collapses ... The big problem is that people don't believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible. To a large extent I think the eco-anarchist movement is accomplishing a great deal, but I think they could do it better... The real revolutionaries should separate themselves from the reformers… And I think that it would be good if a conscious effort was being made to get as many people as possible introduced to the wilderness. In a general way, I think what has to be done is not to try and convince or persuade the majority of people that we are right, as much as try to increase tensions in society to the point where things start to break down. To create a situation where people get uncomfortable enough that they’re going to rebel. So the question is how do you increase those tensions?
—Ted Kaczynski, [1]


A bomb with wires in a wooden box
An FBI reproduction of a bomb created by Kaczynski on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Initial bombings

The first mail bomb was sent in late May 1978 to materials engineering professor Buckley Crist at Northwestern University. The package was found in a parking lot at the University of Illinois at Chicago, with Crist's return address. The package was "returned" to Crist. However, when Crist received the package, he noticed that it was not addressed in his own handwriting. Suspicious of a package he had not sent, he contacted campus policeman Terry Marker, who opened the package, which exploded immediately. Although Marker only received minimal injuries, his left hand required medical assistance at Evanston Hospital.[17]

The bomb was made of metal that could have come from a home workshop. The primary component was a piece of metal pipe, about 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter and 9 inches (230 mm) long. The bomb contained smokeless explosive powders, and the box and the plugs that sealed the pipe ends were handcrafted from wood. In comparison, most pipe bombs usually use threaded metal ends sold in many hardware stores. Wooden ends lack the strength to allow significant pressure to build within the pipe, explaining why the bomb did not cause severe damage. The primitive trigger device that the bomb employed was a nail, tensioned by rubber bands designed to slam into six common match heads when the box was opened. The match heads would immediately burst into flame and ignite the explosive powders. However, when the trigger hit the match heads, only three ignited. A more efficient technique, later employed by Kaczynski, is to use batteries and heat filament wire to ignite the explosives faster and more effectively.[18]

The initial 1978 bombing was followed by bombs sent to airline officials, and in 1979 a bomb was placed in the cargo hold of American Airlines Flight 444, a Boeing 727 flying from Chicago to Washington, D.C. The bomb began smoking, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. Some passengers were treated for smoke inhalation. Only a faulty timing mechanism prevented the bomb from exploding. Authorities said it had enough firepower to "obliterate the plane."[17]

As bombing an airliner is a federal crime in the United States, the FBI became involved after this incident and derived the code name UNABOM (UNiversity and Airline BOMber). U.S. Postal Inspectors, who initially had the case, called the suspect the Junkyard Bomber because of the material used to make the mail bombs. In 1980, chief agent John Douglas, working with agents in the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit, issued a psychological profile of the unidentified bomber which described the offender as a man with above-average intelligence with connections to academia. This profile was later refined to characterize the offender as a neo-Luddite holding an academic degree in the hard sciences, but this psychologically based profile was discarded in 1993 in favor of an alternative theory developed by FBI analysts concentrating on the physical evidence in recovered bomb fragments. In this rival profile, the bomber suspect was characterized as a blue-collar airplane mechanic.[19] A hot line at 1-800-701-BOMB was set up by the UNABOM Task Force to take any calls related to the Unabomber investigation, with a $1 million reward for anyone who could provide information leading to the Unabomber's capture.[20]


The first serious injury occurred in 1985, when John Hauser, a graduate student and Captain in the United States Air Force, lost four fingers and vision in one eye.[21] The bomb, like others of Kaczynski's, was handcrafted and made with wooden parts.[22]

In 1985, a California computer store owner, 38-year-old Hugh Scrutton, was killed by a nail-and-splinter-loaded bomb, placed in the parking lot of his store. A similar attack against a computer store occurred in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 20, 1987. The bomb, which was disguised as a piece of lumber, injured Gary Wright when he attempted to remove it from the store's parking lot. The explosion severed nerves in Wright's left arm and propelled more than 200 pieces of shrapnel into his body. Kaczynski's brother, David—who would play a vital role in Ted's looming capture by alerting federal authorities to the prospect of his brother being involved in the Unabomber cases— sought out and became friends with Wright after Ted was detained in 1996. David Kaczynski and Wright have remained friends and occasionally conduct speaking engagements on reconciliation together.[23]

After a six-year hiatus, Kaczynski struck again in 1993, mailing a bomb to David Gelernter, a computer science professor at Yale University. Though critically injured, he eventually recovered. Another bomb mailed in the same weekend was sent to the home of geneticist Charles Epstein from University of California, San Francisco, who lost multiple fingers upon opening it. Kaczynski then called Gelernter's brother, Joel Gelernter, a behavioral geneticist, and told him, "You are next."[24] Geneticist Phillip Sharp at Massachusetts Institute of Technology also received a threatening letter two years later.[25] Kaczynski wrote a letter to The New York Times claiming that his "group", called FC, was responsible for the attacks.

In 1994, Burson-Marsteller executive Thomas J. Mosser was killed by a mail bomb sent to his North Caldwell, New Jersey home. In another letter to The New York Times Kaczynski claimed that FC "blew up Thomas Mosser because [...] Burston-Marsteller [sic] helped Exxon clean up its public image after the Exxon Valdez incident" and, more importantly, because "its business is the development of techniques for manipulating people's attitudes."[26] This was followed by the 1995 murder of Gilbert Murray, president of the timber industry lobbying group California Forestry Association, by a mail bomb actually addressed to previous president William Dennison, who had retired.[25]

In all, 16 bombs—which injured 23 people and killed three—were attributed to Kaczynski. While the devices varied widely through the years, all but the first few contained the initials "FC". Inside his bombs, certain parts carried the inscription "FC", which Kaczynski later asserted stood for "Freedom Club". Latent fingerprints on some of the devices did not match the fingerprints found on letters attributed to Kaczynski. As stated in the FBI affidavit:

203. Latent fingerprints attributable to devices mailed and/or placed by the UNABOM subject were compared to those found on the letters attributed to Theodore Kaczynski. According to the FBI Laboratory no forensic correlation exists between those samples.[27]

One of Kaczynski's tactics was leaving false clues in every bomb. He would make them hard to find so as to purposely mislead investigators into thinking they had a clue. The first clue was a metal plate stamped with the initials "FC" hidden somewhere (usually in the pipe end cap) in every bomb.[27] One false clue he left was a note in a bomb that failed to go off that said, "Wu—It works! I told you it would—RV".[28] A more obvious clue was the Eugene O'Neill $1 stamps used to send his boxes.[29] One of his bombs was sent embedded in a copy of Sloan Wilson’s novel, Ice Brothers.[17]

The FBI theorized that Kaczynski had a theme of nature, trees and wood in his crimes. He often included bits of tree branch and bark in his bombs. Targets selected included Percy Wood, Professor Leroy Wood Bearson and Thomas Mosser. Crime writer Robert Graysmith noted "In the Unabomber's case a large factor was his obsession with wood."[30]

List of bombings

Year Date Location Victims Injuries
1978 May 25–26 Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois Terry Marker, campus police officer minor
1979 May 9 Northwestern University John Harris, graduate student slight
November 15 Chicago, Illinois 12 American Airlines passengers smoke inhalation
1980 June 10 Chicago Percy Wood, United Airlines President cuts and burns
1981 October 8 University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah none—bomb defused
1982 May 5 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee Janet Smith, university secretary severe injury to hands requiring extensive rehabilitative treatment
July 2 University of California, Berkeley, California Diogenes Angelakos, professor right hand and face; near complete recovery
1985 May 15 University of California, Berkeley John Hauser, graduate student partial loss of vision in left eye, loss of four fingers on right hand
June 13 Auburn, Washington none—bomb defused
November 15 Ann Arbor, Michigan James V. McConnell and Nicklaus Suino McConnell: hearing loss; Suino: shrapnel wounds
December 11 Sacramento, California Hugh Scrutton, computer rental store owner first fatality
1987 February 20 Salt Lake City, Utah Gary Wright, computer store owner injured
1993 June 22 Tiburon, California Charles Epstein, University of California geneticist destroyed both eardrums, lost parts of three fingers
June 24 Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut David Gelernter, computer science professor right hand and right eye
1994 December 10 North Caldwell, New Jersey Thomas J. Mosser, advertising executive second fatality
1995 April 24 Sacramento, California Gilbert P. Murray, timber industry lobbyist third fatality


In 1995, Kaczynski mailed several letters, some to his former victims, outlining his goals and demanding that his 35,000-word paper Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the "Unabomber Manifesto") be printed verbatim by a major newspaper or journal; he stated that he would then end his terrorism campaign.[33] There was a great deal of controversy as to whether it should be done. A further letter threatening to kill more people was sent, and the United States Department of Justice recommended publication out of concern for public safety. The pamphlet was then published by The New York Times and The Washington Post on September 19, 1995, with the hope that someone would recognize the writing style. Prior to The New York Times' decision to publish the manifesto, Bob Guccione of Penthouse volunteered to publish it, but Kaczynski replied that, since Penthouse was less "respectable" than the other publications, he would in that case "reserve the right to plant one (and only one) bomb intended to kill, after our manuscript has been published."[34]

Throughout the manuscript, produced on a typewriter without the capacity for italics, Kaczynski capitalizes entire words in order to show emphasis. He always refers to himself as either "we" or "FC" (Freedom Club), though he appears to have acted alone.[citation needed] Donald Foster, who analyzed the writing at the request of Kaczynski's defense, notes that the manuscript contains instances of irregular spelling and hyphenation, as well as other consistent linguistic idiosyncrasies (which led him to conclude that it was indeed Kaczynski who wrote it).[35]

Industrial Society and Its Future begins with Kaczynski's assertion that "the Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race."[36] The first sections of the text are devoted to psychological analysis of various groups—primarily leftists and scientists—and of the psychological consequences for individual life within the "industrial-technological system".[36] The later sections speculate about the future evolution of this system, argue that it will inevitably lead to the end of human freedom, call for a "revolution against technology", and attempt to indicate how that might be accomplished.[37]

Psychological analysis

In his opening and closing sections, Kaczynski addresses Leftism as a movement and analyzes the psychology of leftists, arguing that they are "True Believers in Eric Hoffer's sense" who participate in a powerful social movement to compensate for their lack of personal power. He further claims that leftism as a movement is led by a particular minority of leftists whom he calls "oversocialized":

The moral code of our society is so demanding that no one can think, feel and act in a completely moral way. [...] Some people are so highly socialized that the attempt to think, feel and act morally imposes a severe burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, they continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term "oversocialized" to describe such people.[38]

He goes on to explain how the nature of leftism is determined by the psychological consequences of "oversocialization." Kaczynski "attribute[s] the social and psychological problems of modern society to the fact that society requires people to live under conditions radically different from those under which the human race evolved and to behave in ways that conflict with the patterns of behavior that the human race developed while living under the earlier conditions." He further specifies the primary cause of a long list of social and psychological problems in modern society as the disruption of the "power process", which he defines as having four elements:

The three most clear-cut of these we call goal, effort and attainment of goal. (Everyone needs to have goals whose attainment requires effort, and needs to succeed in attaining at least some of his goals.) The fourth element is more difficult to define and may not be necessary for everyone. We call it autonomy and will discuss it later.[39] [...] We divide human drives into three groups: (1) those drives that can be satisfied with minimal effort; (2) those that can be satisfied but only at the cost of serious effort; (3) those that cannot be adequately satisfied no matter how much effort one makes. The power process is the process of satisfying the drives of the second group.[40]

Kaczynski goes on to claim that "[i]n modern industrial society natural human drives tend to be pushed into the first and third groups, and the second group tends to consist increasingly of artificially created drives." Among these drives are "surrogate activities", activities "directed toward an artificial goal that people set up for themselves merely in order to have some goal to work toward, or let us say, merely for the sake of the 'fulfillment' that they get from pursuing the goal". He argues that these surrogate activites are not as satisfactory as the attainment of "real goals" for "many, if not most people".[41]

He claims that scientific research is a surrogate activity for scientists, and that for this reason "science marches on blindly, without regard to the real welfare of the human race or to any other standard, obedient only to the psychological needs of the scientists and of the government officials and corporation executives who provide the funds for research."[42]

Analysis of Control Methods

As mentioned above, the result of the "disruption of the power process" is the primary cause of various maladies in society (e.g. crime, depression, etc.). Kaczynski maintains that rather than recognizing that humans currently live in "conditions that make them terribly unhappy", "the system" (i.e. industrial society) develops ways of controlling human responses to the overly stressful environment they find themselves in.

The following are current examples (according to Kaczynski) of this trend:

Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction? It is already happening to some extent in our own society. It is well known that the rate of clinical depression had been greatly increasing in recent decades. We believe that this is due to disruption of the power process...[43]

The entertainment industry serves as an important psychological tool of the system, possibly even when it is dishing out large amounts of sex and violence. Entertainment provides modern man with an essential means of escape. While absorbed in television, videos, etc., he can forget stress, anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction.[44]

Sylvan Learning Centers, for example, have had great success in motivating children to study, and psychological techniques are also used with more or less success in many conventional schools. "Parenting" techniques that are taught to parents are designed to make children accept fundamental values of the system and behave in ways that the system finds desirable.[45]

Historical analysis

In the last sections of the manifesto, Kaczynski carefully defines what he means by freedom[46] and provides an argument that it would "be hopelessly difficult [...] to reform the industrial system in such a way as to prevent it from progressively narrowing our sphere of freedom".[47] He says that "in spite of all its technical advances relating to human behavior the system to date has not been impressively successful in controlling human beings" and predicts that "[i]f the system succeeds in acquiring sufficient control over human behavior quickly enough, it will probably survive. Otherwise it will break down" and that "the issue will most likely be resolved within the next several decades, say 40 to 100 years." He gives various dystopian possibilities for the type of society which would evolve in the former case.[48] He claims that revolution, unlike reform, is possible, and calls on sympathetic readers to initiate such revolution using two strategies: to "heighten the social stresses within the system so as to increase the likelihood that it will break down" and to "develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology".[49] He gives various tactical recommendations, including avoiding the assumption of political power, avoiding all collaboration with leftists, and supporting free trade agreements in order to bind the world economy into a more fragile, unified whole.[37]

He concludes by noting that his manifesto has "portrayed leftism in its modern form as a phenomenon peculiar to our time and as a symptom of the disruption of the power process" but that he is "not in a position to assert confidently that no such movements have existed prior to modern leftism" and says that "[t]his is a significant question to which historians ought to give their attention."[50]

Related works

As a critique of technological society, the manifesto echoed contemporary critics of technology and industrialization, such as John Zerzan, Herbert Marcuse, Fredy Perlman, Jacques Ellul (whose book The Technological Society was referenced in an unnamed Kaczynski essay, written in 1971),[51] Lewis Mumford, Neil Postman, and Derrick Jensen.[52] Its idea of the "disruption of the power process" similarly echoed social critics emphasizing the lack of meaningful work as a primary cause of social problems, including Mumford, Paul Goodman, and Eric Hoffer (whom Kaczynski explicitly references).[52][53] The general theme was also addressed by Aldous Huxley in his dystopian novel Brave New World, which Kaczynski references.[54] The ideas of "oversocialization" and "surrogate activities" recall Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents and his theories of rationalization and sublimation (the latter term being used three times in the manifesto, twice in quotes, to describe surrogate activities).[55]

In a Wired article on the dangers of technology, titled "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us," Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, quoted Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines, which quoted a passage by Kaczynski on types of society that might develop if human labor were entirely replaced by artificial intelligence. Joy wrote that, although Kaczynski's actions were "murderous, and, in my view, criminally insane", that "as difficult as it is for me to acknowledge, I saw some merit in the reasoning in this single passage. I felt compelled to confront it."[56]


A pencil sketch of a man wearing a hood and sunglasses, with a mustache.
The widely disseminated forensic sketch of the Unabomber, by Jeanne Boylan

Before the publication of the manifesto, Theodore Kaczynski's brother, David Kaczynski, was encouraged by his wife Linda to follow up on suspicions that Theodore was the Unabomber.[57] David Kaczynski was at first dismissive, but progressively began to take the likelihood more seriously after reading the manifesto a week after it was published in September 1995. David Kaczynski browsed through old family papers and found letters dating back to the 1970s written by Ted and sent to newspapers protesting the abuses of technology and which contained phrasing similar to what was found in the Unabomber Manifesto.[58]

Prior to the publishing of the manifesto, the FBI held numerous press conferences enlisting the help of the public in identifying the Unabomber. They were convinced that the bomber was from the Chicago area (where he began his bombings), had worked or had some connection in Salt Lake City, and by the 1990s was associated with the San Francisco Bay Area. This geographical information, as well as the wording in excerpts from the manifesto that were released prior to the entire manifesto being published, was what had persuaded David Kaczynski's wife, Linda, to urge her husband to read the manifesto.[59]

After the manifesto was published, the FBI received over a thousand calls a day for months in response to the offer of a $1 million reward for information leading to the identity of the Unabomber. There were also large numbers of letters mailed to the UNABOM Task Force that purported to be from the Unabomber, and thousands of suspect leads were sifted through. While the FBI was occupied with new leads, David Kaczynski first hired private investigator Susan Swanson in Chicago to investigate Ted's activities discreetly. The Kaczynski brothers had become estranged in 1990, and David had not seen Ted for ten years. David later hired Washington, D.C. attorney Tony Bisceglie to organize evidence acquired by Swanson and make contact with the FBI, given the likely difficulty in attracting the FBI's attention. He wanted to protect his brother from the danger of an FBI raid, like Ruby Ridge or the Waco Siege, since he knew Ted would not take kindly to being contacted by the FBI and would likely react irrationally or violently.[60]

In early 1996, former FBI hostage negotiator and criminal profiler Clinton R. Van Zandt was contacted by an investigator working with Tony Bisceglie. Bisceglie asked Van Zandt to compare the manifesto to typewritten copies of handwritten letters David had received from his brother. Van Zandt's initial analysis determined that there was better than a 60 percent chance that the same person had written the letters as well as the manifesto, which had been in public circulation for half a year. Van Zandt's second analytical team determined an even higher likelihood that the letters and the manifesto were the product of the same author. He recommended that Bisceglie's client immediately contact the FBI.[60]

In February 1996, Bisceglie provided a copy of the 1971 essay written by Ted Kaczynski to the FBI. At the UNABOM Task Force headquarters in San Francisco, Supervisory Special Agent Joel Moss immediately recognized similarities in the writings. David Kaczynski had attempted to remain anonymous at the outset but he was swiftly identified, and within a few days, an FBI agent team was dispatched to interview David and his wife with their attorney in Washington, D.C. At this and subsequent meetings with the team, David provided letters written by his brother in their original envelopes, so the use of postmark dates enabled the enhancement of the timeline of Ted Kaczynski's activities being developed by the Task Force. David developed a respectful relationship with the primary Task Force behavioral analyst, Special Agent Kathleen M. Puckett, with whom he met many times in Washington, D.C., Texas, Chicago, and Schenectady, New York over the nearly two months before the federal search warrant was served on Theodore Kaczynski's cabin.[61]


A man in an orange shirt in front of a height scale.
Kaczynski while being booked by the police

Agents arrested Theodore Kaczynski on April 3, 1996 at his remote cabin outside Lincoln, Montana, where he was found in an unkempt state. Among the evidence found in the cabin was a live bomb and what appeared to be the original typed manuscript of the manifesto.[62] The Unabomber was the target of one of the most expensive investigations in the FBI's history.[63]

Paragraphs 204 and 205 of the FBI search and arrest warrant for Kaczynski stated that "experts"—many of them academics consulted by the FBI—believed the manifesto had been written by "another individual, not Theodore Kaczynski".[27] As stated in the affidavit, only a handful of people believed Theodore Kaczynski was the Unabomber before the search warrant revealed the cornucopia of evidence in Kaczynski's isolated cabin. The search warrant affidavit written by FBI Inspector Terry D. Turchie reflects this conflict, and is striking evidence of the opposition to Turchie and his small cadre of FBI agents that included Moss and Puckett—who were convinced Theodore Kaczynski was the Unabomber—from the rest of the UNABOM Task Force and the FBI in general:

204. Your affiant is aware that other individuals have conducted analyses of the UNABOM Manuscript __ determined that the Manuscript was written by another individual, not Kaczynski, who had also been a suspect in the investigation.

205. Numerous other opinions from experts have been provided as to the identity of the unabomb subject. None of those opinions named Theodore Kaczynski as a possible author.[27]

David Kaczynski had once admired and emulated his elder brother, but had later decided to leave the survivalist lifestyle behind.[64] He had received assurances from the FBI that he would remain anonymous and that his brother would not learn who had turned him in, but his identity was leaked to CBS News in early April 1996. CBS anchorman Dan Rather called FBI director Louis Freeh, who requested 24 hours before CBS broke the story on the evening news. The FBI scrambled to finish the search warrant and have it issued by a federal judge in Montana; afterwards, an internal leak investigation was conducted by the FBI, but the source of the leak was never identified.[64] David donated the reward money, less his expenses, to families of his brother's victims.[64]

After his arrest, Kaczynski was briefly among several individuals suspected of being the unidentified Zodiac Killer. However, he lived in Illinois during most of the killings, and was eliminated as a suspect.[65][66] Among the links that raise suspicion were the fact that Kacsynski lived in the Bay Area from 1967 to 1969, the same period that most of the Zodiac's confirmed killings occurred in California, and both being highly intelligent with an interest in bombs and codes. Robert Graysmith of San Francisco, author of the book Zodiac in 1986, said the similarities are "fascinating" but undoubtedly purely coincidental.[67]

Court proceedings

Kaczynski's lawyers, headed by Montana federal defender Michael Donahoe, attempted to enter an insanity defense to save Kaczynski's life, but Kaczynski rejected this plea. A court-appointed psychiatrist diagnosed Kaczynski as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia,[68] but declared him competent to stand trial. Kaczynski's family said he would psychologically "shut down" when pressured.[69] In the book, The Road to Revolution, Kaczynski recalls two prison psychologists, Dr. James Watterson and Dr. Michael Morrison, who visited him almost every day for a period of four years, who told him that they saw no indication that he suffered from any such serious mental illness, and that the diagnosis of his being paranoid schizophrenic was "ridiculous" and a "political diagnosis". Alston Chase's book Harvard and the Unabomber makes a case for the diagnosis being correct, however.

A federal grand jury indicted Kaczynski in April 1996, on 10 counts of illegally transporting, mailing, and using bombs. He was also charged with killing Scrutton, Mosser, and Murray.[70] On January 7, 1998, Kaczynski attempted to hang himself. Initially, the government prosecution team indicated that it would seek the death penalty for Kaczynski after it was authorized by United States Attorney General Janet Reno. David Kaczynski's attorney asked the former FBI agent who made the match between the Unabomber's manifesto and Kaczynski to ask for leniency—he was horrified to think that turning his brother in might result in his brother's death. Eventually, Kaczynski was able to avoid the death penalty by pleading guilty to all the government's charges, on January 22, 1998. Later, Kaczynski attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing it was involuntary. Judge Garland Ellis Burrell Jr. denied his request. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld that decision.[71]

The early hunt for the Unabomber in the United States portrayed a perpetrator far different from the eventual suspect. The Unabomber Manifesto consistently uses "we" and "our" throughout, and at one point in 1993 investigators sought an individual whose first name was "Nathan", due to a fragment of a note found in one of the bombs.[28] However, when the case was finally presented to the public, authorities denied that there was ever anyone other than Kaczynski involved in the crimes. Explanations were later presented as to why Kaczynski targeted some of the victims he selected.[57]

On August 10, 2006, Judge Garland Burrell Jr. ordered that personal items seized in 1996 from Kaczynski's Montana cabin should be sold at a "reasonably advertised Internet auction." Items the government considers to be bomb-making materials, such as writings that contain diagrams and "recipes" for bombs, are excluded from the sale. The auctioneer will pay the cost and will keep up to 10% of the sale price, and the rest of the proceeds must be applied to the $15 million in restitution that Burrell ordered Kaczynski to pay his victims.[72]

Included among Kaczynski's holdings to be auctioned are his original writings, journals, correspondences, and other documents allegedly found in his cabin. The judge ordered that all references in those documents that allude to any of his victims must be removed before they are sold. Kaczynski has challenged those ordered redactions in court on first amendment grounds, arguing that any alteration of his writings is an unconstitutional violation of his freedom of speech.[73]

Life in prison

Florence ADMAX USP, where Kaczynski is incarcerated
The interior of a wooden cabin
Kaczynski's cabin at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Kaczynski is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole as Federal Bureau of Prisons register number 04475–046 in ADX Florence, the federal Administrative Maximum Facility supermax near Florence, Colorado.[74][73] When asked if he was afraid of losing his mind in prison, Kaczynski replied:

No, what worries me is that I might in a sense adapt to this environment and come to be comfortable here and not resent it anymore. And I am afraid that as the years go by that I may forget, I may begin to lose my memories of the mountains and the woods and that's what really worries me, that I might lose those memories, and lose that sense of contact with wild nature in general. But I am not afraid they are going to break my spirit.
—Ted Kaczynski, [1]

Kaczynski has been an active writer in prison. The Labadie Collection, part of the University of Michigan's Special Collection Library, houses Kaczynski's correspondence from over 400 people since his arrest in April 1996, including carbon copy replies, legal documents, publications, and clippings. The names of most correspondents will be kept sealed until 2049.[75] Kaczynski has also been battling in federal court in northern California over the auction of his journals and other correspondence.[76] On January 10, 2009, however, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California rejected Kaczynski's arguments that the government's sale of his writings violates his freedom of expression. His writings, books, and other possessions will be sold online, and the money raised will be sent to several of his victims.[77]

Kaczynski's cabin was removed and stored in a warehouse in an undisclosed location. It was to be destroyed, but was eventually given to Scharlette Holdman, an investigator on Kaczynski's defense team.[78] It is on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. as of July 2008.[79] In a three-page handwritten letter to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Kaczynski objected to the public exhibition of the cabin, claiming it violated the victim's objection to be publicly connected with the UNABOM case.

In a letter dated October 7, 2005, Kaczynski offered to donate two rare books to the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern University's campus in Evanston, Illinois, the location of the first two attacks. The recipient, David Easterbrook, turned the letter over to the university's archives. Northwestern rejected the offer, noting that the library already owned the volumes in English and did not desire duplicates.[80]

David Kacynski, Theodore's brother and the person who turned him in to the FBI, has never received a response to the monthly letters he sends to Theodore in prison, as of 2007.[57]

See also

  • Anarcho-primitivism, an anarchist movement encompassing many of Kaczynski's views
  • CLODO, a 1980s group of neo-Luddite saboteurs from France
  • Das Netz, a film about Kaczynski
  • Green Anarchy, an anarchist magazine that published some of Kaczynski's writings, including the Ship of Fools short story
  • Propaganda by deed, anarchist concept that sees action as being a form of propaganda
  • Unabomber for President, a political campaign which aimed to elect the Unabomber in the 1996 United States presidential election
  • John Zerzan, an anarcho-primitivist philosopher who defended Kaczynski's writings and was a confidant to him during his trial


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Interview with Ted Kaczynski, Administrative Maximum Facility Prison, Florence, Colorado, USA". Earth First Journal!. June 1999. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  2. ^ Solomon (Special Agent in Charge, Miami Division), Jonathan (February 6, 2008). "Major Executive Speeches". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
  3. ^ Moore, John. "Beyond the Fragments - A reaction to Industrial Society and Its Future". Green Anarchist. 
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  6. ^ "Ancestry of Ted Kaczynski". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  7. ^ Ted Kaczynski: Evil man, or tortured soul? - retrieved November 28, 2009 7:06 pm EST
  8. ^ a b c d "Pysychological Evaluation of Theodore Kaczynski". Court TV. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  9. ^ Elder, Robert K. (May 17, 2008). "A brother lost, a brotherhood found". Chicago Tribune.,0,7970571.story. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Chase, Alston (June 2000). "Harvard and the Making of the Unabomber". The Atlantic. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  11. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (October 18, 1999). "CIA Shrinks & LSD". CounterPunch. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  12. ^ Ostrom, Carol M. (April 6, 1996). "Unabomber Suspect Is Charged -- Montana Townsfolk Showed Tolerance For `The Hermit'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  13. ^ a b c McFadden, Robert D. (May 26, 1996). "Prisoner of Rage – A special report.; From a Child of Promise to the Unabom Suspect". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  14. ^ Howe, Peter J. and Dembner, Alice (April 5, 1996). "Meteoric Talent that Burned Out". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 9, 2009. 
  15. ^ Perez-Pena, Richard (April 5, 1996). "On the Suspect's Trail: the Suspect; Memories of His Brilliance, And Shyness, but Little Else". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  16. ^ Morris, Willy (April 6, 1996). "Kaczynski Ended Career in Math with no Explanation". Buffalo News. 
  17. ^ a b c "The Unabomber: A Chronology (1978–1982)". Court TV. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  18. ^ Johnston, David (April 16, 1996). "Cabin's Inventory Provides Insight". The New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  19. ^ Franks, Lucinda (July 22, 1996). "Don't Shoot". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  20. ^ Labaton, Stephen (October 7, 1993). "Clue and $1 Million Reward In Case of the Serial Bomber". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  21. ^ "The Unabomber: A Chronology (1985–1987)". Court TV. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  22. ^ Claiborne, William (April 11, 1996). "Kaczynski Beard May Confuse Witness". The Washington Post: p. §A, p. A11. 
  23. ^ Lavandera, Ed (June 6, 2008). "Unabomber's brother, victim forge unique friendship". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  24. ^ Shogren, Elizabeth (1993-06-25). "Mail Bomb Attack Leaves Yale Computer Scientist in Critical Condition". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-09-20. 
  25. ^ a b "The Unabomber: A Chronology (1988–1995)". Court TV. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  26. ^ "U.S. v. Kaczynski Trial Transcripts". Court TV. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b c d "Affidavit of Assistant Special Agent in Charge". Court TV. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  28. ^ a b Blumenthal, Ralph; Kleinfield, N. R. (December 18, 1994). "Death in the Mail -- Tracking a Killer". The New York Times. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  29. ^ "The end of anon: literary sleuthing from Shakespeare to Unabomber". The Guardian. August 16, 2001.,6109,537856,00.html. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  30. ^ Graysmith, Robert Unabomber: A Desire to Kill (1997) Berkely Publishing ISBN 0-425-16725-9
  31. ^ "The Unabomber's Targets: An Interactive Map". CNN. 1997. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  32. ^ Lardner, George; Adams, Lorraine (April 14, 1996). "To Unabomb Victims, a Deeper Mystery". The Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Excerpts From Letter by 'Terrorist Group,' FC, Which Says It Sent Bombs". The New York Times. April 26, 1995. Retrieved January 21, 2009. 
  34. ^ Elson, John (July 10, 1995). "Murderer's Manifesto". Time.,8816,983142,00.html. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  35. ^ Crain, Craig (1998). "The Bard’s fingerprints". Lingua Franca: 29–39. 
  36. ^ a b F.C. 1995, §Introduction
  37. ^ a b F.C. 1995, §Strategy
  38. ^ F.C. 1995, §Oversocialization
  39. ^ F.C. 1995, §The Power Process
  40. ^ F.C. 1995, §Disruption of the Power Process in Modern Society
  41. ^ F.C. 1995, §Surrogate Activities
  42. ^ F.C. 1995, §The Motives of Scientists
  43. ^ The Unabomber Manisfesto: Industrial Society and It's Future 1995, §Control of Human Behavior (paragraph 145)
  44. ^ The Unabomber Manisfesto: Industrial Society and It's Future 1995, §Control of Human Behavior (paragraph 147)
  45. ^ The Unabomber Manisfesto: Industrial Society and It's Future 1995, §Control of Human Behavior (paragraph 148)
  46. ^ F.C. 1995, §The Nature of Freedom
  47. ^ F.C. 1995, §Industrial-Technological Society Cannot be Reformed
  48. ^ F.C. 1995, §The Future
  49. ^ F.C. 1995, §Human Race At A Crossroads
  50. ^ F.C. 1995, §Final Note
  51. ^ Kaczynski, Theodore (1971). Unnamed Essay. 
  52. ^ a b Sale, Kirkpatrick (September 25, 1995). "Unabomber's Secret Treatise". Nation. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  53. ^ F.C. 1995, §The danger of leftism
  54. ^ F.C. 1995, §Human suffering
  55. ^ Wright, Robert (August 28, 1995). "The Evolution of Despair". Time.,9171,983355,00.html. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  56. ^ "Why the future doesn't need us". Wired. April 2000. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  57. ^ a b c Kaczynski, David (September 9, 2007). "Programme 9: September 9, 2007". RTÉ Radio 1. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  58. ^ Johnston, David (April 5, 1996). "On the Suspect's Trail: the Investigation; Long and Twisting Trail Led To Unabom Suspect's Arrest". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2008. 
  59. ^ Perez-Pena, Richard (April 7, 1996). "Tapestry of Links in the Unabom Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  60. ^ a b "In Unabom Case, Pain for Suspect's Family". The New York Times. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  61. ^ Johnston, David (May 5, 1998). "17-Year Search, an Emotional Discovery and Terror Ends". The New York Times. Retrieved July 6, 2008. 
  62. ^ "Unabomber suspect is caught, ending eight-year man-hunt". CNN. 1996. Retrieved January 25, 2009. 
  63. ^ "The Unabomb Trial". CNN. 1997. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  64. ^ a b c Dubner, Stephen J. (October 18, 1999). ""I Don't Want To Live Long. I Would Rather Get The Death Penalty Than Spend The Rest Of My Life In Prison"". Time. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ Fagan, Kevin (14 May 1996). "Kaczynski, Zodiac Killer -- the Same Guy?". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  68. ^ Corey, Scott (January 21, 1998). "Revolutionary suicide". Salon. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  69. ^ Ferguson, Paul (1997). "A loner from youth". CNN. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  70. ^ "Unabomber". MSN Encarta. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  71. ^ "The Unabomber: A Chronology (The Trial)". Court TV. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  72. ^ Taylor, Michael (August 12, 2006). "Unabomber's journal, other items to be put up for auction online". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 5, 2008. 
  73. ^ a b Kovaleski, Serge F. (January 22, 2007). "Unabomber Wages Legal Battle to Halt the Sale of Papers". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2008. 
  74. ^ "Theodore John Kaczynski." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on January 5, 2010.
  75. ^ "Labadie Manuscripts". University of Michigan Library. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  76. ^ Trescott, Jacqueline (August 13, 2008). "Unabomber Objects to Newseum's Exhibit". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 7, 2008. 
  77. ^ "Unabomber's items can be acutioned". San Francisco Chronicle. January 9, 2009. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 
  78. ^ Walsh, Denny (May 5, 2003). "Unabomber's". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  79. ^ Zongker, Brett (June 19, 2008). "Newseum Exhibit Features 'Unabomber' Cabin". ABC News. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 
  80. ^ Pond, Lauren (October 31, 2005). "NU rejects Unabomber's offer of rare African books". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved February 4, 2009. 


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Theodore Kaczynski article)

From Wikiquote

I have noticed that the people who try hardest to impose moral code on others (not in self-defense) are often the least careful to abide by that moral code themselves.

Theodore John Kaczynski, Ph.D., also known as the Unabomber (born 22 May 1942) is an American terrorist who attempted to fight against what he perceived as the evils of technological progress by sending mail bombs to various people over almost eighteen years, killing three and wounding 23. He was the target of the FBI's most expensive manhunt ever.




  • But what first motivated me wasn’t anything I read. I just got mad seeing the machines ripping up the woods and so forth...
    • Interview with the Earth First! Journal, Administrative Maximum Facility Prison, Florence, Colorado, USA, June 1999.
  • The big problem is that people don't believe a revolution is possible, and it is not possible precisely because they do not believe it is possible.
  • Many years ago I used to read books like, for example, Ernest Thompson Seton's "Lives of Game Animals" to learn about animal behavior. But after a certain point, after living in the woods for a while, I developed an aversion to reading any scientific accounts. In some sense reading what the professional biologists said about wildlife ruined or contaminated it for me. What began to matter to me was the knowledge I acquired about wildlife through personal experience.
  • "No, what worries me is that I might in a sense adapt to this environment and come to be comfortable here and not resent it anymore. And I am afraid that as the years go by that I may forget, I may begin to lose my memories of the mountains and the woods and that's what really worries me, that I might lose those memories, and lose that sense of contact with wild nature in general. But I am not afraid they are going to break my spirit. "
  • "Never lose hope, be persistent and stubborn and never give up. There are many instances in history where apparent losers suddenly turn out to be winners unexpectedly, so you should never conclude all hope is lost."

Industrial Society and Its Future

  • The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race.
    • "Introduction", item 1
  • The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it MAY eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms to engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine.
    • "Introduction", item 2
  • If the system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down it had best break down sooner rather than later.
    • "Introduction", item 3
  • Those who are most sensitive about "politically incorrect" terminology are not the average black ghetto-dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any "oppressed" group but come from privileged strata of society.
    • "Feelings of Inferiority", item 12
  • [W]e are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, whether he admits it to himself or not.
    • "Oversocialization", item 25
  • Consistent failure to attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression.
    • "The Power Process", item 36
  • In modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one's physical needs.
    • "Surrogate Activities", item 40
  • And then there are unthinking, animal types who seem to be satisfied with a purely physical sense of power (the good combat soldier, who gets his sense of power by developing fighting skills that he is quite content to use in blind obedience to his superiors).
    • "Autonomy", item 43
  • Crowding, rapid change and the breakdown of communities have been widely recognized as sources of social problems. but we do not believe they are enough to account for the extent of the problems that are seen today.
    • "Sources Of Social Problems", item 53
  • A theme that appears repeatedly in the writings of the social critics of the second half of the 20th century is the sense of purposelessness that afflicts many people in modern society.
    • "Disruption Of The Power Process In Modern Society", item 64
  • Some people have low susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques. These are the people who aren't interested in money. Material acquisition does not serve their need for the power process.
    • "How Some People Adjust", item 81
  • In any case it is not normal to put into the satisfaction of mere curiosity the amount of time and effort that scientists put into their work.
    • "The Motives of Scientists", item 87
  • It is important not to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness
    • "The Nature of Freedom", item 94
  • It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise between technology and freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises.
    • "Technology Is A More Powerful Social Force Than The Aspiration For Freedom", item 125
  • Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction? It is already happening to some extent in our own society. It is well known that the rate of clinical depression had been greatly increasing in recent decades. We believe that this is due to disruption of the power process, as explained in paragraphs 59-76. But even if we are wrong, the increasing rate of depression is certainly the result of SOME conditions that exist in today's society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed, modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect, antidepressants area a means of modifying an individual's internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable. (Yes, we know that depression is often of purely genetic origin. We are referring here to those cases in which environment plays the predominant role.)
    • "Control of Human Behavior", item 145
  • To those who think that all this sounds like science fiction, we point out that yesterday's science fiction is today's fact. The Industrial Revolution has radically altered man's environment and way of life, and it is only to be expected that as technology is increasingly applied to the human body and mind, man himself will be altered as radically as his environment and way of life have been.
    • "Control of Human Behavior", item 160
  • The technophiles are taking us all on an utterly reckless ride into the unknown. Many people understand something of what technological progress is doing to us yet take a passive attitude toward it because they think it is inevitable. But we (FC) don't think it is inevitable. We think it can be stopped, and we will give here some indications of how to go about stopping it.
    • "Strategy", item 180

Hit Where It Hurts

  • Smashing up McDonald's or Starbuck's is pointless. Not that I give a damn about McDonald's or Starbuck's. I don't care whether anyone smashes them up or not. But that is not a revolutionary activity. Even if every fast-food chain in the world were wiped out the techno-industrial system would suffer only minimal harm as a result, since it could easily survive without fast-food chains. When you attack McDonald's or Starbuck's, you are not hitting where it hurts.
    • "Technology Is The Target", point 2
  • The techno-industrial system is exceptionally tough due to its so-called "democratic" structure and its resulting flexibility. Because dictatorial systems tend to be rigid, social tensions and resistance can be built up in them to the point where they damage and weaken the system and may lead to revolution. But in a "democratic" system, when social tension and resistance build up dangerously the system backs off enough, it compromises enough, to bring the tensions down to a safe level.
    • "Why The System Is Tough", point 4

The Road to Revolution

  • To "Morality and Revolution" I would like to add the following remark: there are two kinds of morality - the kind of morality that one imposes on oneself and the kind of morality that one imposes on others. For the first kind of morality, that is, for self-restraint, I have the greatest respect. The second kind of morality I do not respect except when it constitutes self-defense. (For example, when women say that rape and wife-beating are immoral, that is self-defense.) I have noticed that the people who try hardest to impose moral code on others (not in self-defense) are often the least careful to abide by that moral code themselves.
    • "Morality and Revolution"
  • [...] to judge from the Internet postings that people have sent me, probably most of what you learned [about me] was nonsense.
    • Letter to J. N.
  • A mistake that most people make is to assume that the more followers you can recruit, the better. That's true if you are trying to win an election. A vote is a vote regardless of whether the voter is deeply committed or just barely interested enough to get to the polls. But when you're building a revolutionary movement, the number of people you have is far less important than the quality of your people and the depth of their commitment. Too many lukewarm or otherwise unsuitable people will ruin the movement.
    • Letters to David Skrbina
  • Rebellion against technology and civilization is real rebellion, a real attack on the values of the existing system. But the green anarchists, anarcho-primitivists, and so forth (The "GA Movement") have fallen under such heavy influence from the left that their rebellion against civilization has to great extent been neutralized. Instead of rebelling against the values of civilization, they have adopted many civilized values themselves and have constructed an imaginary picture of primitive societies that embodies these civilized values.
    • Letter to M. K.
  • Its is important, too, to realize that deadly violence among primitives is not even remotely comparable to modern warfare. When primitives fight, two little bands of men shoot arrows or swing war-clubs at one another because they want to fight; or because they are defending themselves, their families, or their territory. In the modern world soldiers fight because they have been brainwashed into believing in some kook ideology such as that of Nazism, socialism, or what American politicians choose to call "freedom". In any case the modern soldier is merely a pawn, a dupe who dies not for his family or his tribe but for the politicians who exploit him. If he's unlucky, maybe he does not die but comes home horribly crippled in a way that would never result from an arrow- or a spear-wound. Meanwhile, thousands of non-combatants are killed or mutilated. The environment is ravaged, not only in the war zone, but also back home, due to the accelerated consumption of natural resources needed to feed the war machine. In comparasion, the violence of primitive man is relatively innocuous.
    • The Truth about Primitive Life

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to Author:Theodore Kaczynski article)

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Theodore Kaczynski
See biography, media, quotes, indexes. Also known as the Unabomber.
Theodore Kaczynski



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




University and Airline Bomber

Proper noun




  1. the name given by the media to the perpetrator of mail bomb attacks in America between 1978 and 1994


  • 2000 January 1, Roxanne Roberts, Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, National Public Radio
    Based on the Unabomber’s manifesto, the smash movie of twenty thirty-four will be Barbarians in the Gates, the autobiographical return-to-nature philosophy of Bill Gates, Jr. Starring Oscar-winner, actor Cody Gifford.

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